August 1, 2019
By Regina Pratt
A four-day workshop for teachers in the classroom, which commenced on Monday, July 29, would end today after some healthy exchange of ideas between teachers from various schools and facilitators from the US.
Opening the workshop with the theme, ‘Early Years Matters’ at the Leone Preparatory School, Off Kingharman Road, Deputy Minister of Primary and Secondary Education, Emily Gogra, echoed greetings and commendations from her boss, Alpha Timbo,to the organisers for making it possible to organise such a workshop.
“If we have people like the organisers in this country things will change ultimately and as a ministry, we have the political will to support education in general. But most of all, we want to support early childhood education. We have problems today because of malpractices in school exams because the foundation is weak,” she said.
She educated participants about the 1995 Education Policy, which provides that children should be sent to school at age 1-3 and 3-5, as the early learning period.
The deputy minister said before now, people from within the West African region used to come to Fourah Bay College to acquire quality education, “but today we are proud of spying.”
“We the teachers are the ones committing the offences because we are sent to different centres where we connive with the holders of the centres. It’s a shame! In our schools, are we committed to our jobs, our country, our children and ourselves? I am going to schools that are on exams to see what is happening,” she said.
She cited the Sustainable Development Goal 2030, which demands that every child- male, female of disabled, should be entitled to free quality education from kindergarten to tertiary.
“What passion do you have for your community, school and yourself. Let us change our environment as we are nurses, counsellors and lawyers and continue with our passion for the work .As diligent teachers, be yourself and listen,” she said.
On her part, Mayor of the Freetown City Council, Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, told participants that what they were doing was not only important for them, but for Freetown and Sierra Leone as a whole.
She noted that what participants were engaged in was in line with the transformation of Freetown, adding that they have a target to ensure that 50% of municipal schools have teachers, who are trained to cope and work with children with special needs.
“Let us join hands together and work as a team and ensure that with education at the forefront we stand collectively to transform Freetown,” she said.
The Focal Person, who doubles as the Director of Early Childhood Education, Melody Martin, informed participants that government has now developed a roadmap for early childhood education.
“This shows that we are serious about schooling especially early childhood as we are talking about quality education. If early moment does not matter to us, those up there will not make it to where we want them to go,” she said.
In her opening address, Mrs. Joyce Osman wished participants a fruitful engagement and exchange of ideas.